October 28
Anchored in Carolina

Big New Cat

I'm just back from another visit to the Carolina Kite Festival in Atlantic Beach, NC. The flying space is a bit tight, but so are the friendships. People are nice in Carolina, even if they just call me "Gomberg".

The Bay Area Sundowners anchored one end of the field and I flew big kites at the other. In between was a nice show of art kites, games, and flying lessons. Joel Scholz flew a display from GoFly. Our hosts, the Dixons brought out their brand new Giant Cat. And Mix McGraw attempted a new record for the most Mini-Hyperkites ever flown. But I think what he succeeded in setting was a record for the most crashes of a big kite stack into the surf...

Big Bear Best Use of a Big Bag Big Ray

Winds were uncertain and as usual, blew out across the narrow beach toward the water. I put up the Bear one day and the Manta Ray the next, lifted by Pilots and flown on short lines. Then I showed my friends the Martins and the Agners why you never fly all the kites in your bag. Always leave something soft to sleep on!

And now I'd like to talk a bit about different anchoring strategies. Much of this material is from a lecture Al Sparling, Susie and I presented at the last AKA convention. Al did the cool illustrations. (Anyone want to re-work our parafoil tuning pictures??)

Big Kite Anchoring Options

When you head out to the field with any hard-pulling kite, you have several options for how you will anchor it for optimal performance. Which option you choose depends on the space you have, wind strength and stability, and the kite or kites you plan to fly.

Standard Anchor

Standard, or Single-Point Anchor: This is the traditional way to anchor a kite. The main benefit is that it is easy and that it works. But if you are flying more than one kite, you'll be using lots of room. And if your winds are unsteady, you also risk tangles and crashes. There are ways, with a bit more effort, to increase stability and performance.

Two-Point Anchor

Two-Point Anchor: Anchoring on two lines will limit side-to-side movement in light or turbulent conditions. If the kite comes down, the range from side-to-side will be restricted by the opposite line. If an anchor or line breaks, the second line will keep everything from flying away. You can also use lighter flying lines when you rely on two of them. But if wind direction shifts, you'll need to shift your anchors.

Split Bridle

Split Bridle: Splitting your bridle is similar to using two anchor points, except that you actually divide your bridle lines into two separate sections and anchor each of them. (Look closely at the picture.) This only works with some figure kites like the Octopus. The benefit is much improved flying stability in turbulent winds. If you simply tie a knot at the end of each bridle section, you can bring them together and connect a single line whenever you want to fly on one anchor point.

Multi-Kite Anchor

Multi-Kite Anchor: When space is limited, try flying more than one kite from the same anchor. You can either tie several pieces to the same line, or use a separate line for each kite. (Multiple lines, is of course safer.) You connect the lines by attaching carabiners to the primary line on the higher kite and letting the other lines slide through it. You can also support lower kites by attaching them to the primary line with a lifting tether. (See our Pilots Pilot FAQ.)

Tether Anchor

Tether Anchor: One final option is to anchor a strong line perpendicular to the wind and then attach several kites into this "tether" with shorter lines. This is another way to maximize the amount of sail you fly in a limited space. Increased safety is another benefit.

No matter which option you choose, make sure your anchor is solid. I've seen people connect 1200 pound flying line into 200 pound tie-downs or attach large kites to car bumpers and forget to set the brake. Consider where the weakest link in your flying system will be. And make certain the anchor you use is well-suited to the surface you'll be anchoring to.

Anchor Spikes Spike Assortment Sand Anchors

GKPI offers a variety of straps, spikes, and sand anchors designed to make sure your kite stays where you put it. Check them all out in our Line, Anchor, and Accessories Pages.

Don't forget to give your opinion on what to call the 'what-ch-ma-call-it" Just go to last week's Update and click one of the options in our survey. Thanks!!

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